IPC Licensed Certification Center

Some contracts call for certain staff to be “certified” to an IPC inspection standard in order to assemble or inspect printed circuit boards. Others call for an IPC certification for inspection of bare boards or wire harnesses, enclosures or even the knowledge of a designer. These credentials are part of the IPC certification program. These programs stem from the standards created by the electronics industry and are administered by the not-for-profit trade organization the IPC.

The IPC standards certification program is a multi-tiered certification and training program which uses the IPC standards as its basis for building the classes. This multi-tiered system starts near the top with the IPC licensed certification center which employs professional soldering and assembly instructors to instruct on the standards and administer the certification tests. The IPC grants the licenses to the IPC licenses certification center in a given geography to perform various administrative and training functions. They are the first line of defense for the IPC in administering the certification program. These IPC licensed certification centers employ skilled and experienced instructors. These instructors include those with military soldering and wire harness assembly experience, those who have been in the industry for a period of time and have first-hand manufacturing experience or those who may have been line leaders who were thrust into the instruction role.  These are some of the backgrounds for those working as professional instructors for the IPC licensed certification centers.

The master instructors, working for these IPC licensed certification centers, are at the upper tier of the multi-tiered certification and training program and have several responsibilities. As the subject matter experts, these master instructor trainers or (MITs) can train and administer the testing for both trainers-called CITs or certified instructor trainers as well as CIS technician-level candidates. These MITs typically keep on top of their subject area by sharpening their skills by attending IPC committee meetings, technical conferences, and other technical events. As an IPC licensed training center employee they will also be training students from industry who will bring up situations and other problems in the industry. This further develops the knowledge base of the master instructors employed by the IP{C licensed certification center.

In addition to having a trained staff with up-to-date knowledge of training, an IPC licensed certification center is also expected by industry to have the latest in soldering equipment. This means that certain types of equipment are at the IPC licensed certification center. For hand soldering skills this means that magnification needs to be of the latest vintage. This can be in the form of digital scopes, stereo microscopes, and other inspection equipment. For tinning wires, this equipment set would also include a soldering pot. Multiple heat sources for exposing students to different methods of soldering including conductive, convective, resistive and others would be expected by industry clients to be at the I{C licensed training center. Each of the workstations should have the proper grounding and ESD protection in order to display best practices for the students. As the electronic components continue to shrink in size the IPC licensed certification center should have a method for projecting the demonstration of the hand soldering skill for the student. For the student’s comfort each f the soldering stations should also be outfitted with some type of fume extraction system in order prevent any respiratory issues from arising during the training of soldering. In addition, the soldering lab of the IPC licensed certification center should have a variety of soldering materials, fluxes, cleaners found in the industry in order to best emulate the manufacturing environment.

The listing of IPC Licensed Certification centers can be found here:

http://www.ipc.org/ContentPage.aspx?pageid=IPC-Standards-Certification-Centers

There is a complete IPC training center on wheels at:

https://www.solder.net/training/mobile-training-center/

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